Twitter is bringing back the chronological timeline

Your Twitter prayers are answered! Well, maybe not the prayers about harassment or the ones about an edit tweet button, but your other prayers. Today in a series of tweets, the company announced that it had heard the cries of its various disgruntled users and will bring back a form of the pure chronological timeline that users can opt into. Twitter first took an interest in a more algorithmic timeline three-ish years ago and committed to it in 2016.

Some users were under the impression that they were living that algo-free life already by toggling off the “Show the best Tweets first”

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This is what Americans think about the state of election security right now

A wide-ranging new poll yields some useful insight into how worried the average American feels about election threats as the country barrels toward midterms. The survey, conducted by NPR and researchers with Marist College, polled 949 adult U.S. residents in early September across regions of the country, contacting participants through both landlines and mobile devices. The results are a significant glimpse into current attitudes around the likelihood of foreign election interference, election security measures and how well social media companies have rebounded in the public eye.

Attitudes toward Facebook and Twitter

As the most recent dust settles around revelations that Russia ran influence campaigns targeting Americans on social media platforms, just how much do U.S. voters trust that Facebook and Twitter have cleaned up their acts? Well, they’re not convinced yet. In response to a question asking about how much those companies had done since 2016 “to make sure
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Twitter now puts live broadcasts at the top of your timeline

Twitter will now put live streams and broadcasts started by accounts you follow at the top of your timeline, making it easier to see what they’re doing in realtime. In a tweet, Twitter said that that the new feature will include breaking news, personalities and sports. The social networking giant included the new feature in its iOS and Android apps, updated this week. Among the updates, Twitter said it’s now also supporting audio-only live broadcasts, as well as through its sister broadcast service Periscope. Last month, Twitter discontinued its app for iOS 9 and lower versions, which according to Apple’s own data still harbors some 5 percent of all iPhone and iPad users.

Social networks & the online reality of identity

Like everyone else, I watched the Washington Social Media circus with interest. A lot of words were used. Crocodile tears shed. Promises made. Bouquets of derision thrown. But no one actually said what needs to be done with the social media platforms and their social responsibility. The more I think about it, the more I believe that social platforms should take cues from real life social networks – cities, states, and nations. Just as these geographically defined social networks have amenities such a policing, rules and clear identities, our social platforms, and related online social environments to need to add a layer of humanness to the platform. Continue reading "Social networks & the online reality of identity"

Apple’s iPhone event will be live streamed on Twitter for the first time

Apple’s iPhone press event will be live streamed on Twitter for the first time, TechCrunch has confirmed. This news backs up an earlier report from last month, which claimed Apple would expand the ability to watch the event to Twitter’s platform, instead of only through Safari and Apple TV or Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, as in the past. Many had been speculating the event would live stream on Twitter, due to the wording Apple is using in its latest Promoted Tweet about the event. The tweet asks users to sign up for “updates” on event day and follow the action on Twitter via the #AppleEvent hashtag. While Apple has run Twitter ads before, including to those that remind users to tune in and watch, the tweet’s wording this time had hinted that the action may be live streamed on Twitter. Instead of saying “follow” the event on Twitter,
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Twitter hires former Refinery29 COO Sarah Personette as Head of Client Solutions

Twitter announced this morning it has hired Sarah Personette, previously COO at Refinery29, as its new head of global Twitter Client Solutions. Personette will start in mid-October. She will be based in New York, where she’ll report to Head of Customers Matt Derella, also previously head of Twitter Client Solutions. The company says this will allow Derella to focus on his expanded role leading Content Partnerships, Self-Serve Advertising, Operations, and Twitter Services. Personette, meanwhile, will oversee all of the global regional TCS leaders, Client Solutions Development and Global Brands. Derella welcomed Personette this morning in a series of tweets.

“Sarah will be taking the reins in overseeing our our

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Hate speech, collusion, and the constitution

Half an hour into their two-hour testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were asked about collaboration between social media companies. “Our collaboration has greatly increased,” Sandberg stated before turning to Dorsey and adding that Facebook has “always shared information with other companies.” Dorsey nodded in response, and noted for his part that he’s very open to establishing “a regular cadence with our industry peers.” Social media companies have established extensive policies on what constitutes “hate speech” on their platforms. But discrepancies between these policies open the possibility for propagators of hate to game the platforms and still get their vitriol out to a large audience. Collaboration of the kind Sandberg and Dorsey discussed can lead to a more consistent approach to hate speech that will prevent the gaming of platforms’ policies. But collaboration between competitors as dominant
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Twitter launches audio-only broadcasting feature on its iOS app and Periscope

Twitter is launching a new feature that allows users to create audio-only broadcasts directly from Twitter itself, as well as Twitter’s Periscope. The feature, which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed in a tweet this morning, is available from the same interface where you would normally launch live video. It’s currently accessible on the Twitter for iOS app, as well as on Periscope.

Now, instead of only having the option to record video after you tap “Live,” there’s a button you can tap to pick audio-only broadcast. The feature was seen in beta testing in recent weeks, but @Jack’s tweet – along with the mobile app’s update log  – indicates it has now rolled out to all. Twitter also confirmed to TechCrunch the feature is currently available only on the Twitter app for iOS and

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Twitter brings Bookmarks to the web with a new design, now in testing

Twitter is testing a new experience for web users, the company announced in a tweet on Thursday. A small number of Twitter users will see the updated version of Twitter for web, which will include access to Twitter’s Bookmarks feature, and scrolling through Twitter’s Explore section, the tweet said and a spokesperson confirmed. However, Business Insider grabbed screenshots of the opt-in pop-up that appears when you’re invited to test the revamped website, which promises other features like night mode, data saver and more. These are not necessarily “new” features though — Twitter rolled out its dark-themed “Night Mode” to the web client a year ago. The differences appear to be more subtle, as it turns out. For example, Night Mode is now a toggle switch, as is Data Saver, instead of an option to click on from your settings menu. Trends also shifted from one side of the home page
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Alex Jones and Infowars permanently suspended from Twitter and Periscope after new content violations

Twitter has finally put an end to the ongoing controversy over how it has refused to completely shut down the accounts of Alex Jones and his online media site Infowars after a number of people complained about abusive content posted by both: it has finally banned both, on Twitter and its video platform Periscope.

“Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope,” the Twitter Safety account Tweeted moments ago. “We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations. “As we continue to increase transparency around our rules and enforcement actions, we wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case. We do not typically comment on enforcement actions we take against individual accounts, for their privacy. “We will continue to evaluate reports we receive
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Twitter agrees to abuse transparency reports, civil rights audit

A meek and quiet “no” was Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s refrain as he responded to an onslaught of questions from House Energy Committee Republicans about whether his service shadowbans or is biased against conservatives. A few Democrats like Rep Sarbanes (D-MD) accurately pointed out that the whole point of the hearing was to “work the ref” in an attempt to badger Twitter into an overcorrection that would promote conservatives and make it tougher to enforce its policies against right-wing trolls and conspiracy theorists. Before the start of the hearing, Dorsey laid out data that showed Democrat an Republican congress members got the same number of impressions per tweet when controlling for follower count — debunking the theory that it suppresses conservative view points. Given the session’s spurious purpose, many of the questions were just different ways of asking if Twitter discriminated based on political ideology, which Dorsey repeatedly denied. But
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Highlights from the Senate Intelligence hearing with Facebook and Twitter

Another day, another political grilling for social media platform giants. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s fourth hearing took place this morning, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey present to take questions as U.S. lawmakers continue to probe how foreign influence operations are playing out on Internet platforms — and eye up potential future policy interventions.  During the session US lawmakers voiced concerns about “who owns” data they couched as “rapidly becoming me”. An uncomfortable conflation for platforms whose business is human surveillance. They also flagged the risk of more episodes of data manipulation intended to incite violence, such as has been seen in Myanmar — and Facebook especially was pressed to commit to having both a legal and moral obligation towards its users. The value of consumer data was also raised, with committee vice chair, Sen. Mark Warner, suggesting platforms should actively convey that value
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Twitter is considering badging bots — “as far as we can detect them”

At today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was asked by vice chair Sen. Mark Warner whether users should have “a right to know” if they are talking to a bot or a human on its platform — to help people better navigate the information they are being exposed to. Dorsey agreed that “more context” around tweets and accounts is good, but — when pressed by Warner on whether Twitter should have a policy to ID bots vs humans on the platform — he said Twitter is actively considering it, albeit cautioning “as far as we can detect them”. “We can certainly label and add context to accounts that come through our API,” he continued. “Where it becomes a lot trickier is where automation is actually scripting our website to look like a human actor. So as far as we can label and we can identify these automations we
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How to watch Facebook and Twitter’s big hearings with Congress

On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will appear before Congress in the latest high profile hearings for tech on Capitol Hill. The main event will take place at 9:30 a.m. ET, as the pair of tech execs faces the defense and cybersecurity-minded Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Following that hearing, Dorsey will stick around for a chat with the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a hearing set for 1:30 p.m ET. For a thorough preview, you can catch Facebook and Twitter’s opening statements. In the Senate hearing, expect most of the discussion to focus on the company’s efforts to thwart coordinated efforts by US adversaries to influence domestic politics. Titled “Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms,” the hearing will give some of the Senate’s most tech-savvy members a chance to take their questions and concerns straight to the top.

Facebook, Twitter: US intelligence could help us more in fighting election interference

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has admitted that the social networking giant could have done more to prevent foreign interference on its platforms, but said that the government also needs to step up its intelligence sharing efforts. The remarks are ahead of an open hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, where Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey will testify on foreign interference and election meddling on social media platforms. Google’s Larry Page was invited, but declined to attend. “We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act,” said Sandberg in prepared remarks. “That’s on us.” The hearing comes in the aftermath of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Social media companies have been increasingly under the spotlight after foreign actors, believed to be working for or closely to the Russian government, used disinformation spreading tactics to try to influence the outcome of
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Twitter is a Nazi haven for the same reason its CEO claims no bias

“From a simple business perspective and to serve the public, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform”. That’s Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s argument for why “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions” according to his prepared statement for his appearance at tomorrow’s hearing with the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

But it’s also validates criticism of why Twitter is reluctant to ban Nazis, hate-mongers, and other trolls that harass people on the service: It makes money off of them.

Twitter has been long-known to ignore reports of threats or abuse. It’s common to see people posting the screenshots of the messages they get back from Twitter saying that sexist, racist, homophobic, and violent remarks don’t violate its policies. Only when they get enough retweets and media attention do those accounts seem to disappear.

In fact, a Wall Street Journal report claims that

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Instead of Larry Page, Google sends written testimony to tech’s Senate hearing

Silicon Valley is about to have another big moment before Congress. On Wednesday, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg will go before the Senate Intelligence Committee to follow-up on their work investigating (and hopefully thwarting) Russian government-linked campaigns to sow political division in the US. The hearing is titled “Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms” and begins tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM ET. It will be both Dorsey and Sandberg’s first time appearing before Congress on the high-stakes topic, but they’re not the only invitees. Alphabet CEO Larry Page was also called before the committee, though he is the only one of the three to decline to appear on Wednesday. Google also declined to send Sundar Pichai. “Our SVP of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, who reports directly to our CEO and is responsible for our work in this area, will be in Washington,
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UK media giants call for independent oversight of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

The UK’s leading broadcasters and ISPs have called for the government to introduce independent regulatory oversight of social media content. The group of media and broadband operators in the tightly regulated industries spans both the state-funded and commercial sector — with the letter to the Sunday Telegraph being inked with signatures from the leaders of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, BT and TalkTalk. They argue there’s an “urgent” need for independent oversight of social media, and counter suggestions that such a move would amount to censorship by pointing out that tech companies are already making choices about what to allow (or not) on their platforms. They are argue independent oversight is necessary to ensure “accountability and transparency” over those decisions, writing: “There is an urgent need for independent scrutiny of the decisions taken, and greater transparency. This is not about censoring the internet, it is about making the most popular
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It’s time for Facebook and Twitter to coordinate efforts on hate speech

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, there has been burgeoning awareness of the hate speech on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. While activists have pressured these companies to improve their content moderation, few groups (outside of the German government) have outright sued the platforms for their actions. That’s because of a legal distinction between media publications and media platforms that has made solving hate speech online a vexing problem. Take, for instance, an op-ed published in the New York Times calling for the slaughter of an entire minority group.  The Times would likely be sued for publishing hate speech, and the plaintiffs may well be victorious in their case. Yet, if that op-ed were published in a Facebook post, a suit against Facebook would likely fail. The reason for this disparity? Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which provides platforms
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